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					Characteristics of Specialty Occupation Workers (H-1B)
May 1998 to July 1999
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
February 2000


       This report presents preliminary information on the characteristics of specialty
occupation workers approved for H-1B nonimmigrant status during a 15-month period. The
number of workers approved for H-1B status from May 11, 1998 through July 31, 1999 is
approximately 134,400; all were for new employment, and all were potentially subject to the
annual cap on H-1B approvals.1

        The estimates are based on a sample of 4,217 approved H-1B workers and contain
information comparable to that required by the American Competitiveness and Workforce
Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA).2 The results are subject to sampling and non-sampling
error. See the appendix for a summary of the sampling procedures, data sources, and estimates
of error.

Country of Birth
        INS estimates that nearly half of the H-1B petitions were granted to persons born in
India, which far exceeded China, the next leading country.

                                                               Percent
                       Country of Birth            Estimate      95% Confidence          Total
                                                                    Limits3

                   All countries                       100.0                            134,400
                   India                                47.5      (45.9 - 49.2)           63,900
                   China                                 9.3       (8.3 - 10.2)           12,400
                   United Kingdom                        3.2        (2.6 - 3.8)            4,400
                   Canada                                3.0        (2.4 - 3.5)            4,000
                   Philippines                           2.7        (2.2 - 3.3)            3,700
                   Korea                                 2.3        (1.8 - 2.8)            3,100
                   Taiwan                                2.1        (1.6 - 2.5)            2,800
                   Japan                                 2.0        (1.6 - 2.5)            2,700
                   Other countries                      27.8      (26.4 - 29.3)           37,400

1
  The 134,400 approved petitions do not all apply against the annual H-1B cap of 115,000. The approved total is
adjusted by subtracting (1) the number of petitions that have been approved for one individual beyond the initial
occurrence, and (2) the number of petitions that have been revoked. The INS has announced that the 1999 H-1B cap
may have been exceeded even after applying these adjustments and has contracted the firm of KPMG, Inc. to assist
in developing the final 1999 count.
2
  Public Law 105-277, Division C, American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998, Section
416(c)(2) requires the INS to submit an annual report with “information on the countries of origin and occupations
of, educational levels attained by, and compensation paid to, aliens who were issued visas or otherwise provided
nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act during the previous
fiscal year.” The first report under this requirement will be submitted to Congress for those approved for H-1B status
in Fiscal Year 2000.
3
  95th percent confidence interval: with repeated sampling, the true population proportion will fall within the
interval 95% of the time.

                                                                                                    Page 1
                 Note: Numbers and percents may not add to totals due to rounding.

Occupation
       The occupation code is provided by the petitioning employer on the Labor Condition
Application (LCA). Approximately 53% of the approved petitions were for aliens with
occupations in systems analysis or programming. All computer-related and engineering
occupations accounted for 70% of the total H-1B petitions. Nearly 74% of the systems analysts
and programmers were born in India compared to about 18% in all other occupations.


                                                                                     Percent
                                                4
                    Occupation (LCA Code )                                Estimate    95% Confidence       Total
                                                                                          Limits

Total                                                                       100.0                          134,400

Occupations in systems analysis and programming (030)                        53.3      (51.7 - 55.0)           71,700
Electrical/electronics engineering occupations (003)                          4.9       (4.2 - 5.5)             6,500
Computer-related occupations (not elsewhere classified
        (N.E.C.)) (039)                                                       3.4       (2.8 - 4.0)             4,600
Occupations in college and university education (090)                         3.0       (2.5 - 3.5)             4,000
Accountants, auditors and related occupations (160)                           2.8       (2.3 - 3.4)             3,800
Occupations in architecture, engineering, and surveying
        (N.E.C.) (019)                                                        2.3       (1.8 - 2.7)             3,000
Other                                                                        30.3      (28.8 - 31.9)           40,800
Note: Numbers and percents may not add to totals due to rounding.


Degree Earned
        The reporting of a U.S. or foreign degree is not required in a standard format on any of
the INS or DOL forms, but is almost always provided by the petitioning employer in supporting
documentation. In cases where the degree was earned outside of the United States, the employer
usually provides a credential evaluation stating that the foreign degree is “equivalent to” a
particular U.S. degree. The degree cited by the employer was used in this analysis. Note that the
degree may not necessarily be the highest degree attained.

        Approximately 57% of the H-1B workers were reported to have earned the equivalent of
a Bachelor’s Degree; nearly 41% earned a Master’s Degree or higher; 10% earned a Professional
Degree (MD, DDS, LLB, JD) or Doctorate Degree (PhD, EdD). Approximately 34% of systems
analysts and programmers reported earning a Master’s Degree or higher, while nearly 90% of
aliens with occupations in colleges and universities reported earning a Master’s Degree or
higher.




4
 The 3-digit occupational group codes provided by the petitioning company on the Labor Condition Application
(LCA) (ETA 9035) to the U.S. Department of Labor.

                                                                                               Page 2
                                                              Percent
                         Degree Earned             Estimate     95% Confidence        Total
                                                                    Limits

                 Total                                100.0                           134,400

                 High school diploma                    1.0      (0.6 - 1.3)            1,300
                 Associate’s degree                      .5      (0.3 - 0.7)              700
                 Bachelor’s degree                     56.8     (55.2 - 58.5)          76,400
                 Master’s degree                       30.7     (29.2 - 32.3)          41,300
                 Professional degree                    2.5      (2.0 - 3.0)            3,400
                 Doctorate degree                       7.6      (6.8 - 8.5)           10,300
                 Unknown or none                         .8      (0.5 - 1.2)            1,100
                  Note: Numbers and percents may not add to totals due to rounding.


Annual Wage
       The median prospective annual wage reported by employers for all H-1B workers was
$45,000; half of the workers were expected to earn between $38,900 and $55,000. The highest
median wage among the leading occupations was for electrical/electronics engineers ($54,000)
and the lowest was for college and university educators ($35,000).


                                                                                      Annual Wage

                    Occupation (LCA Code)                                 Median           25th             75th
                                                                            50th        Percentile       Percentile
                                                                         Percentile

Total                                                                     $45,000         $38,900         $55,000

Electrical/electronics engineering occupations (003)                        54,000            47,875        63,420
Occupations in architecture, engineering, and surveying
        (N.E.C.) (019)                                                      51,000            44,777        62,000
Computer-related occupations (not elsewhere classified
        (N.E.C.)) (039)                                                     49,400            45,000        57,000
Occupations in systems analysis and programming (030)                       47,000            42,000        54,500
Accountants, auditors and related occupations (160)                         36,000            28,000        45,000
Occupations in college and university education (090)                       35,000            27,000        45,000
Other and unknown                                                           40,000            30,000        59,000
Note: Numbers and percents may not add to totals due to rounding.

       Employers did not report prospective wages on an annual basis for approximately 9% of
workers. These workers were excluded from the analysis due to possible problems in comparing
compensation rates over different employment periods. Information on whether the employment
was on other than a full-time basis was not collected. Forms of compensation other than wages,
such as bonuses or benefits, were not included.


                                                                                                Page 3
Age
      More than 83% of the workers granted H-1B status were between the ages of 20-34. The
median age of all workers at the time their petition was received at the INS was 28 years.


                                                            Percent
             Age at time of Application          Estimate      95% Confidence           Total
                                                                   Limits

            Total                                    100.0                              134,400

            Under 20 years                             0.1       (0.0 – 0.3)                200
            20-24 years                               18.6     (17.3 – 19.9)             25,000
            25-29 years                               42.4     (40.7 – 44.0)             56,900
            30-34 years                               22.1     (20.8 – 23.5)             29,800
            35-39 years                                9.2      (8.3 – 10.2)             12,400
            40 years and over                          6.6       (5.8 – 7.3)              8,800
            Unknown age                                1.0       (0.6 – 1.3)              1,300
               Note: Numbers and percents may not add to totals due to rounding.


Previous Status

        An estimated 60% percent of the approved H-1B petitions for new employment were for
aliens who were outside the United States at the time their petition was submitted to the INS. Of
the estimated 53,300 aliens already in the United States in a nonimmigrant status, approximately
58% were here as F-1 academic students. Note that aliens outside of the United States may have
been in the U.S. as a nonimmigrant at some earlier date.


                                                                              Percent
Previous Status (Nonimmigrant code classification)                Estimate      95% Confidence           Total
                                                                                    Limits

Total                                                                 100.0                              134,400

Outside the United States                                              60.3        (58.7 – 62.0)           81,100

Adjusting from a Nonimmigrant Status                                   39.7        (38.0 – 41.3)           53,300

Academic students (F-1)                                                22.9        (21.5 – 24.3)           30,800
Spouses and children of temporary workers (H-4)                         3.2         (2.6 – 3.8)             4,400
Exchange visitors (J-1)                                                 3.1         (2.6 – 3.7)             4,200
Visitors for pleasure (B-2)                                             3.0         (2.4 – 3.6)             4,100
Professional workers, North American Free Trade
        Agreement (TN)                                                  1.9         (1.5 – 2.3)             2,500
Visitors for business (B-1)                                             1.7         (1.2 – 2.1)             2,200
Other and unknown                                                       3.8         (3.1 – 4.4)             5,100


                                                                                                Page 4
Note: Numbers and percents may not add to totals due to rounding.
Appendix: Sampling Description and Procedures

H-1B Procedures
        Petitions for obtaining H-1B nonimmigrant status for alien workers are submitted by their
prospective employers on INS form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker). The petitions
are mailed to one of four INS Service Centers depending on the location of the employer. The
centers are located in St Albans, VT; Lincoln, NE; Dallas, TX; and Laguna Nigel, CA.

        Approved petitions submitted by the employer (petitioner) allow the employee
(beneficiary) to work in the United States up to 3 years initially. Employment can be extended
for another 3 years for an overall total of 6 years. Only one worker is named on each petition;
however, a particular worker may be petitioned for by more than one company.

       Selected information from the I-129 is entered into the Computer Linked Application
Information Management Systems (CLAIMS3) case tracking system. Adjudicators in the
Service Centers decide whether to approve or deny the petition and enter the decision into
CLAIMS3. Each Service Center operates its own Local Area Network (LAN) and uploads
information to a national mainframe version of CLAIMS3 daily.

       The I-129 petition and other supporting documentation such as the Labor Condition
Application (LCA) (ETA Form 9035) are placed in a file identified by receipt number. The
physical files are forwarded for storage to the INS records center in Harrisonburg, VA,
approximately 90 days after adjudication.

Description of the Population and Sample
Population:      The population consists of 134,411 H-1B petitions approved during the period
                 from May 11, 1998 through July 31, 1999. All of the applications were for new
                 employment and were potentially recorded against the annual FY 1999 cap. The
                 numbers of petitions by Service Center are: Vermont—61,191; Texas—25,261;
                 Nebraska—17,926; and California—30,033. The CLAIMS3 mainframe was used
                 to identify the population and to select the sample.

Sample:          Random samples of 1,100 petitions were selected in each of the 4 service centers
                 providing for an overall total of 4,400. Only 4.2% of the files were not located in
                 Harrisonburg, VA or one of the Service Centers. The final sample size is 4,217;
                 Vermont—1,035; Texas—1,076; Nebraska—1,041; and California—1,065. The
                 petitions were identified by receipt number and pulled for coding at Harrisonburg,
                 VA. A group of coders from INS Headquarters examined each file and recorded
                 the information on a data collection form.

Data Sources and Variables
        The source documents for the sample were:

        1. INS Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
        2. ETA Form 9035, Labor Condition Application (LCA)
        3. Supporting Documentation attached to the I-129 petition


                                                                                      Page 5
   Variable               Source                        Notes and Non-Sampling Error

Country of Birth INS Form I-129, Part 3,     Country was provided on all the records.
                 Country of Birth
Occupation       ETA Form 9035, Job          The Department of Labor (DOL) considers the entry of
                 Code                        the 3-digit code on the LCA to be a self-service action
                                             by the petitioning employer. It is important to note that
                                             the job code is based upon reporting directly from the
                                             employer and not upon INS or governmental
                                             assessment and analysis. The DOL does not perform a
                                             quality review of this data element and does not correct
                                             employer error. The occupation code was provided on
                                             all the records.
Degree Earned    Supporting                  The degree was not available on the INS or DOL
                 documentation to INS        standard forms. It is important to note that the degree
                 Form I-129                  earned is based upon reporting directly from the
                                             employer and not upon INS or governmental
                                             assessment and analysis. Determination was made by
                                             searching through a credential evaluation from the
                                             employer; the standard terminology “equivalent to”
                                             was usually available when a foreign degree was cited
                                             and served as the basis of determination of degree
                                             earned. Copies of diplomas and certificates were
                                             usually available in the file but were seldom used by
                                             coders in determination. Degree earned is missing on
                                             0.8% of the records.
Annual Wage      INS Form I-129, Part 5,     Approximately 9% of the employers reported wages
                 Wages per week or per       other than on an annual basis or did not report any
                 year                        wages. Coders sometimes converted from hourly to
                                             weekly wages and some interpretation was made when
                                             the reporting period was not indicated. Petitions with
                                             information other than on an annual basis were
                                             excluded from the analysis due to possible problems in
                                             comparing compensation rates over different
                                             employment periods. The annual wages exclude other
                                             forms of compensation.
Age              INS Form I-129, Part 3,     Age was calculated by subtracting the date of birth
                 Date of birth and date of   from the date the petition was received. The calculated
                 application receipt as      age is missing on 1.0% of the records.
                 stamped on the petition
Nonimmigrant     INS Form I-129, Part 3,     I-129 information keyed into CLAIMS3 was used to
Status           Current Status and INS      determine if a worker was abroad or in the United
                 Form I-129, Part 2,         States at time of application. Part 2, 4a indicates alien
                 Question 4, Requested       was abroad; Part 2, 4b indicates alien was in the United
                 Action                      States. The nonimmigrant status for those checking 4b
                                             was copied onto coding sheets by coders. The
                                             nonimmigrant status is missing on 0.9% of the records.



                                                                                  Page 6

				
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